Shure SE215

  1. riless
    Best Headphone Purchase
    Written by riless
    Published Sep 24, 2015
    Pros - long-term comfort, noise cancellation, great sound quality, durable
    Cons - n/a
    Before purchasing the Shure SE215's, I'd spend $15-30 on a pair of buds that would always break after a few months, at most.  Fed up with spending God knows how much after several years, I decided it was time to invest on some good quality earbuds.  The popular "luxury" headphones to buy are obviously Beats, but after some time researching, I decided I'd go with these. The return policy (free repair / new pair within two years of purchasing if broken) from the Shure website was what motivated me to go through with buying them.  Three years later I'm glad to say these puppies are still as amazing as they were day one.  The sound quality is pristine, and the isolation is almost too good - many a time I've had people tapping me after several failed attempts of shouting my name.  By far my best use of $99.  The only headphones I can wear for over an hour without my ears screaming in pain.  Oh, and I should mention these took a full trip through the washer and made it out good as new.  It makes me wonder how much better the more expensive models can be...I wouldn't be surprised if they blow me away as well! 

    I did see some negative reviews about either of the earbuds being staticky or malfunctioning, and so far that hasn't happened to mine.  I know there is the option to detach the whole earbud from the wire, but my suggestion is just to leave it on, there's no need to do that and potentially mess the connection up.  The foam in-ear pieces can be a little flustering or strange at first, but you'll get used to them after a day or so, and they're much better than the rubber ones.  Along with that, the wire going behind your ear felt abnormal to me, probably because I wasn't used to that type of earbuds, but you'll get used to that as well.  

    Overall, these headphones basically no cons and a ton of pros so if you're on the fence for headphones, BUY THESE! You'll thank me later. 
    1. whitemass
      Eh, I feel your love.
      But as far as you enjoying these, I'm assuming you probably fell in love with their marshmallow deep warm sound, which you won't find much in their upper priced IEMs in that line.
      They're more for reference, and if I were to suggest you try something, who knows.
      whitemass, Oct 7, 2015
  2. Chiek
    Are there any Shure headhones that don't sound good?
    Written by Chiek
    Published Sep 10, 2015
    Pros - Outstanding audio quality for acoustic music, base just right, secure fitting to ear, sturdy detachable cable
    Cons - No remote control device
    I am a big Shure fan given my sweet  experience  with SRH940 and SRH1840 for indoor use. Being an avid mountain biker conscientious of safety (hence a helmet is obligatory), I need a pair of good IEH to pipe in pleasing music that stay secure while I navigate those bumpy trails in the forest. I am ecstatic to say that Shure fails me not yet again with their affordable and simply put, outstanding SE215. 
    Rather than using technical audiophile jargon (which I am poor at and probably mislead with malapropism) to describe the pleasing sound of SE215, I will tell you that folk, indie rock, gospel, pop ranging from Pat McGee Band, Howie Day, Griffin House, Matt Hires, Cary Brothers, Trent Darbs,Jack Savoretti, Unkle Bob, Josh Ritter, Cold Play, Ari Hest, Jon Peter Lewis, Stephen kellogg, Greg Laswell, Matt Nathanson, Jonathon Jones and Brandan Heath (just to name a few) that I listen to, SE215 does an excellent job taking me to Nirvana while I gaze at the reflection of the forest on Lake Songsvann (outskirts of Oslo, Norway). 
    Indeed the design of the earpieces and the hooking cables around the ears are tricky to put on and requires higher than average IQ to do it. But when you get it right, the ear piece stays on. Tugging on the V-shape junction of the cable will actually make it even more secure if you put it on right. 
    Hence it is just perfect for mountain biking. 
    I love you Shure. I am saving money for SE 425. Got to have it for Christmas. 
  3. flognarde
    Shure quality
    Written by flognarde
    Published Sep 8, 2015
    Pros - build quality, warranty, quite detailed, beautiful mids, smooth signature, long cable.
    Cons - bloated bass response, lack of trebles in some recording. their price went up.
    Once you spent the necessary 2 minutes to put them on, they are very confortable, they don't move around. The foam tips (not much "memory"),are solid and washabled (especially compared the Comply's).
    First of the protocole : Wav, Flac, APE, 24's and DSD (can't hear the high-res difference even though I tried hard). Almost exclusively classical music, CD rip and downloads. FIIO X5II and ASUS Xonar STX
    First, as a general remark: The sound heavily dependson the quality of the recordings ! Some will fit them nicely, some won't. It sounds obvious but it's not that often mentioned.
    For what's left they are very pleasing, not very accurate but rather musical even though they are not tonaly perfect in an overly luxurious manner. As a result they lack some excitement but they are never tiring. In some complex messages (let's say Bruckner's 5th) they can be a bit messy (not crippling). Generally, they sound good with piano solo, voices . The trebles decay can be felt at times but the good side of it is you won't turn deaf. The real downside is the bloated bass response. It can be agreable at times but this mellowish heat bothers me most of the time. The STX card can help but the signature is engraved.
     I bought them brand new for 60€ which is a bargain, now they sell in Europe for more than 100€. And for this price there is serious competition.
    Remember that there is a 2 year warranty (good build quality), 1.8m long quality cable (1.2 is too short for me). 
    And as usual, burnin time my ass, just get the right tip and you are ready to go.
    1. jefmohd
      I just got them in today. Listening to them as I type. First impression, nice mid and low, high so,so. Need power to drive them.. using LAu to drive them. .. time will tell after running in..
      jefmohd, Feb 11, 2016
  4. goodyfresh
    Very good isolation and good comfort, cool design, decent sound for the price
    Written by goodyfresh
    Published Aug 15, 2015
    Pros - Design, comfort, bass and mids (with some issues), build (mostly)
    Cons - Somewhat muddy bass/mids boundary, recessed upper-mids and treble, a little bit "congested" sounding, hard to grow accustomed to achieving good fit
    I bought these IEM's on sale for $84.99 when I saw them in a store, as I knew they normally go for 99.99.  I believe they are a reasonably good deal for this price, but have some issues.
    Comfort/Fit:  It is somewhat difficult to find a nice placement of these  with the wire over the ears that will stay firmly in place.  However, it is certainly possible to do so, and from what I can tell it should be possible for the very vast majority of folks to achieve a proper fit and seal with these.  Once properly fitted and sealed, these are very comfortable IEM's. . .I can listen to them comfortably for hours.  And I have small ear-canals and ears.  They come with a good assortment of variable tips. . .three each of silicone and foam tips, each in small, medium, and large sizes, so like most such IEM's, there are plenty of options for folks with very different ears to achieve a proper fit and seal.  Personally, I am deciding to stick to the medium-sized foam tips that came on them at the start, after some experimentation, as those seem to give me the best seal and comfort.  I can also move pretty vigorously and they don't fall out or slip out of place.
    Design and Build:  They're neat in the clear design I got them in, you can see the electronics and the drivers inside!  The build is very solid, with the possible exception in the long-run of the cable connectors, which are little mini-coax types--prone to breakage with rough use or in the longterm.
    Value/Price:  Well, these were a pretty good value at the price I got them for.  I'm not sure I'd recommend buying them at the usual price of $99.00, though--one can do better sound-wise for that price, and if you shop around one can do equally well in terms of build for that price, as well.
    The Sound:  This is pretty good.  Some aspects of it are very good.  Most of the bass and most of the mids are quite good on these!  Buttery and smooth, with reasonable (but not very high) levels of clarity and detail.  Some folks will love it, others will probably hate it.  There does seem to be some bleed at the bass-mids boundary, though, probably indicative of some levels of IMD (since these do measure as having extremely low THD+N, apparently).  Also, the bass is quite boosted compared to the mids.  But it is reasonably solid given how boosted it is.  These border on the territory of being basshead IEM's, at least in my opinion.

    The treble is rolled-off, but with a typical peak in the general neighborhood of 10khz and a few smaller peaks and dips below and above that.  The extension into the upper octave compared to the rest of the treble is surprisingly good given the price-tag, but is nothing truly special.  Like the mids and bass, the treble is buttery-smooth and reasonably, but not especially, detailed and clear.
    Overall, these sound very smoothed-out.  One cannot hear too "deeply" into the music, and it is not really analytical.  Some may really like that.  Personally, at this point, I prefer something that is still engaging and fun, but more on the analytical side.
    The soundstage is surprisingly pretty good, but nothing special, except when you consider how isolating they are with proper fit--They easily get over 25 to 30dB or more broadband isolation, and have a single dynamic-driver design, but still do have a sensation of soundstage and a bit (but not much) of an out-of-head sound.  It's honestly quite hard to get well-built IEM's with good soundstage in this price-range (I did finally find the Trinity Delta for only $99, which has amazing soundstage for the price, though), so it's nice that this does have a perception of soundstage.  One can even hear decent layering and such.  But the soundstage itself is very narrow and has only moderate depth (to my ears).
    In summary, I'd say these do a few things well; the build (for the price, a lot of truly-shabbily-built IEM's in this price-range), the isolation (awesome), the fact they've got some layering to the soundstage, the bass and mids (aside from their boundary with the bleed), and the overall smoothed-out quality which I myself do not like but some might :)
    1. View previous replies...
    2. goodyfresh
      As I pointed out in my review, there ARE some notable flaws in the SE215's sound!  But check it out. . . .I'm about to add some edits which you may find quite interesting.  Check back on here in a half hour or an hour and you'll see :wink:
      goodyfresh, Aug 18, 2015
    3. whitemass
      I thought I had seen the whole of SE215 reviews, and then you came along. I see Soundstage as being squished in these, and I definitely disagree with them being fun sounding, as more fun sounding things are more musical. The SE215 has a relaxed sound signature, as commonly said by others, it's the type of IEM you put into to relax, or couch lock. I mean, come on, they're the most warm sounding IEM we have in the field of IEMs' besides the Westone 4R which are another level of sound.
      whitemass, Aug 19, 2015
    4. goodyfresh
      My point about the soundstage was more that it's much better than I ever expected from single dynamic microdriver IEM's.
      You say they aren't fun-sounding, then say they are warm.  And yet, either warm or v-shaped signatures are what are usually referred to as a fun sound signature by audio enthusiasts, so. . .
      goodyfresh, Aug 19, 2015
  5. KewStone
    5 f***ing stars for the best entry IEM in the market!
    Written by KewStone
    Published Jul 30, 2015
    Pros - EXCELLENT isolation! Great low end extension and overall great for fun earphone when you're gymming or just out and about.
    Cons - at $99 this piece has no cons
    The Shure SE215 is the first IEM I owned and was the one that brought me in head-fi. I got mine for around $95 at the time after reading some reviews online here and there. Since then, I've learned to put some faith in reviewers and not assume that everyones a shill for promoting a product.
    I still have not forget the first time I wore this. I was clueless on how over ear earphones worked and I fumbled around but once I got it in, the world outside just completely shut out.
    I was there with my music turned on and it was heavenly
    There is absolutely no reason for anyone not to hear this device once in their life -- audiophile or not, this provides the best value:performance ratio.
    1. ppdv
      @KewStone: Enjoy the SE215. I have been using the SE215 for like 4+ years now... though i got it for a bit higher price at that time. I would agree with the impressions that you have written down. its a VFM product with a clean sound, period. The only thing, purely my opinion, is that damn hard cable that comes with it. I Would prefer a shorter cable (< 1m) and a bit of the braided types, though the only one i can find is a replacement from FIIO cables and honestly don't know how much of value add that cable makes to the headphone ( in terms of comfort, sound signature and durability/usablity.)
      ppdv, Jul 30, 2015
    2. Rearwing
      I agree with everything you have said, a great starter item that rewards the listener instantly............but can be the start of a slippery slope to empty pockets!
      Rearwing, Jul 31, 2015
    3. whitemass
      Eh, I can't agree... I feel the IM02, or the SE315 have more to offer. The SE215 is a good pondering point for people who want a Warm NOT Fun Sounding IEM. And I'm confused on how you got fun sound from this. It's a much more laid back piece. Fun usually is Treble with a fall off, Bass that is boosted, non recessed Highs, & Mids, and a slightly neutral sound.
      This is the Dark Chocolate, meets the Subtle Coffee of Warm Sound, and that's why its reputation for Warm Sound is so appreciated. 
      I'm glad you enjoyed it!
      whitemass, Jul 31, 2015
  6. aviatorguy
    Daily Driver; No regret; basshead!;
    Written by aviatorguy
    Published Jun 15, 2015
    Pros - Isolation, Bass, Design, Soundstage
    Cons - Plastic, not for continuous listening
    bought 15 days ago. phones are just warming up. 
    Bass is awesome... 
    Almost one year its been.. Already burned in. Now SE215 is my daily driver.
    Signature feature is its BASS. its refined and almost perfect. wouldn't distort much, except if you amplify bass. You aint need amplification for this babes. has its own bass, thats awesome enough for me.
    Next thing is it's Mid. its very pronounced, impressively. its not annoying at all. compared to my audio technica, this shows off very clear and pronounced mid without annoying me. 
    Treble is what I am disappointed about. I cant hear 10k or 16k (Hz) at all. very low 8k is there. 2k and 4k is pronounced like the mid. so the mid-high sounds will be like pretty loud. There might someone who dont like that. but i dont mind. i like the sound of lead/distortion/treble guitars. (rockhead) 
    I dont like the way it exhibit Metal, Rock songs. Alternatives are OK.
    Perfect (according to me) for POP, HIP HOP, EDM, and other bass heavy songs 
    Very impressive soundstage for the price. its not perfect, but you can somewhat distinguish instruments. i hear more sounds than my audiotechnica.
    design is good, but its made out of plastic. the wire is sturdy. sits perfectly on my ear. 
    personally, I cant use it continuously like my audio technica, after about 1 or 2 hours I give up, coz of fatigue and a slight pain. 
    ISOLATION is the best for the price. i can hear nothing while the music is on (with the foam)
    All the stars for its value... X) 
  7. jeremychin91
    A bit overated
    Written by jeremychin91
    Published Feb 21, 2015
    Pros - Noise Isolation,Comfort,Bassy
    Cons - Build Quality,Soundstage,Word fading in the body
    I owned a SE215 without a month and I discovered the word SHURE already began to fade...OMG! I am so depressed with the quality control.They should keep an eyes on their qc...Really sucks.The sound is not clear and muddy.
  8. cuiter23
    Top Contender under $100
    Written by cuiter23
    Published Jan 30, 2015
    Pros - Good bass quantity, Smooth vocals, Outstanding build quality
    Cons - Overall sound resolution, Bass is slightly boomy, Treble extension lacking
    Before reading below, Please check out my in-depth YouTube review of the Shure SE215 as well! Please support my new channel by clicking "like" and sharing it with your friends :)
    Background Information
    Before I begin, I picked these up at my local music store for $99 CAD. They currently retail for $124 CAD and I believe $99 USD. Street and used prices vary widely with the SE215s.
    First of all the reason I rate the SE215 4/5 stars is primarily because of the value it presents under the $100 mark. You will be extremely hard pressed to find a pair of IEMs at this price with such rugged build quality along with its very likeable Shure house sound. Although it is not the most detailed IEM out there it is one of the best in this price point and users who are looking for this type of sound will be satisfied. I also find that this IEM directly caters to the average consumer's preferences due to its plentiful mid-bass impact as well as the forwardness of the midrange especially with male vocals. 
    First of all, being a dynamic driver IEM, it does have its strengths and weaknesses. However, it is hard to fault the 215s due to the price you can obtain them for and these shortcomings are nothing major. I personally, am a huge fan of the Shure house sound. Having previously owned the SE315, SE535 and currently own both the SE215 and SE425s I can easily say the SE215 hands down present the best value out of all of these. 
    shuresingle.jpg    shuredouble.jpg
    The SE215s don't come with the full Shure "fit kit" that you get with the SE315s and up. Therefore, it is lacking the 1/4inch adapter, the yellow foams, and also the triple flanged eartips. Although you do get a good enough selection with the SE215s with 6 pairs of tips in total (3 pairs of foams + 3 pairs of rubber). Included is also a soft shell case which is a nice touch but don't expect it to protect your IEMs if you plan to toss it around in your bag as it is prone to getting squished. For that, I would recommend a hardshell case like the Pelican 1010.
    shurefront.jpg   shurecase.jpg
    Build Quality
    Two words - Simply Outstanding! Definitely a class leader in the build department rivaling many competitors at the $1000+ range. I am happy to see that Shure did not cheap out on the SE215s and maintained the rugged build quality from the SE215's older brothers. Although the SE112 which was released not too long ago does not have this rugged build (which is forgiveable considering the price). The SE215s build just exudes quality and durability. I can clearly see that these were built for professional use.
    The L-Shaped 3.5mm gold-plated jack has a very bulky and industrial design. Strain relief is probably the best I've encountered on any IEM. Although it is important to note that there is a high chance that the SE215s will not be able to fit in your phone cases.
    The Y-Splitter is even more impressive. At no time do I feel that the cable will break or tear apart.
    The detachable cables are the selling point of the SE215s IMO. Although the Shure connectors are hard to pry off at first, once you get used to them it should be quick and painless. If the cable does die on you (which I highly doubt) replacements can be found for under $50 a piece.
    Overall decent for me. You will either love the over-the-ear design or hate it. I'm impartial. Although I do still kind of lean towards just a traditional wearing style. It's a lot easier and doesn't require 2 hands. It can be a hassle to put on at first when you are not used to it after a couple days of putting them off and taking them off you get used to it. However, with the over-the-ear design, the SE215s reduce microphonics to a minimal. This is also great for stage use as it keeps the IEMs from moving around while you are moving on stage. 
    The negative profile and ergonomics of the SE215s are also a plus. They are suitable for listening in bed as the driver housing does not protrude out so you can lie on your side comfortably. The design of this is very reminiscent of a Custom IEM (CIEM). 
    Sound Quality
    Probably what most of you guys are expecting! However, I am slightly dissapointed to report that the overall sound quality (SQ) is the SE215s weakest point in comparison to its build, comfort, etc. This is not to say they sound bad, but at this price if you are solely looking for sound quality, you may need to look elsewhere. 
    With the SE215s you can expect thumping bass with good body and impact. The lows do bleed into the mid frequencies but due to the abundance and forwardness of the mids, the midrange is never masked. However, the bass at times can get slightly uncontrolled and boomy on tracks that have quick transients as the dynamic drivers of the SE215s are unable to keep up with the quick decay. Electronic music therefore sounds a bit slow and congested in the lower regions. That is why I prefer slower tracks with the SE215s such as Hip-Hop/R&B. I wouldn't say the SE215s have a good amount of sub-bass but on the contrary, they are more mid-bass focused. They lack the rumble in the lower regions sometimes (Dru Hill - Angel).
    Definitely the highlight of these IEMs. As with every Shure SE model that I've heard (up to the SE535s) I find the midrange to be extremely forward and very likeable. You get that warm midrange that works well with vocals and genres such as R&B, Soul. Great also for slower songs such as acoustic and singer-songwriter stuff. Jack Johnson sounds particularly good with these (Jack Johnson - Banana Pancakes). Great amount of detail retrieval in the midrange and just overall a pleasing and buttery smooth experience. Male vocals sound great but female vocals can sound slightly restrained (depending on the singer) as it does lack that upper-midrange to treble sparkle and energy.
    Only the SE535's have only slightly impressed me with the upper regions. The SE215s I can confidently say that they lack of any sparkle or shimmer in the treble regions. Cymbals and triangles seem forced at times and it feels like trumpets have their mutes on (even when it is being played without the trumpet mute). Many times I can't even hear or barely hear passages in the upper registers without looking for it closely. Not at all impressed with the treble extension on the SE215s.
    Soundstage / Imaging
    A very narrow soundstage both vertically and horizontally. Due to the fact that these IEMs lack extension on both the top and the bottom, it is a very mid focused with everything sort of congesting in the centre. The sound is therefore in your face which is a good thing for music professionals who need that sort of reproduction on stage. Not too good for HiFi listening though as the instruments are slightly harder to pick out.
    As described above, the instrument separation is just average, therefore the imaging is just decent as well. Most instruments are heard but once you get up to more demanding tracks the SE215s start to fall apart. On more convoluted tracks, the drivers of the SE215s are only able to pick up the main instruments in the mix leaving a lot of background / secondary instruments not able to be heard clearly or even at all sometimes. Therefore, it does lack transparency in this sense. The placement of instruments does not give you a 3D feel but the 2D left and right panning is done well.
    Final Impressions
    All in all, I love the SE215s and use it for work (DJ) where I can throw it around and not worry about breaking it due to its rugged professional design. I also have the Sensaphonic custom sleeves on there which improves the isolation and bass response. It also has the bass quantity that I need when performing on stage. These are my go-to IEMs for under $100 for a well-rounded warm sounding IEM.
    The Shure SE215 deserves a solid recommendation for me due to the fact that it is comfortable, and most of all built like a tank! Sound quality is quite good as well but if you are critical about the finest details, then I would suggest the HiFiMAN RE-400 or the VSonic VSD3 both under $100. To many people who are not used to flat sounding headphones/IEMs these will sound amazing and are very versatile. However, to the more discerned individual who listens to nothing but neutral headphones, these may sound bloated (although most likely an exaggeration) and lacking in detail.
    Tracks Discussed:
    Dru Hill - Angel
    Jack Johnson - Banana Pancakes
    Happy Listening!
    1. ActiveTechREV
      Thanks for suggesting an alternative for more detail.
      ActiveTechREV, Jan 31, 2015
    2. cuiter23
      cuiter23, Feb 1, 2015
  9. TRapz
    Fun & Isolating IEM For Only $100
    Written by TRapz
    Published Jan 13, 2015
    Pros - FUN, Isolation, Price, Removable cables, Build quality
    Cons - Cord a bit long, Other IEMs in the same price range may outperform it by now
    I started getting into audio about a year ago; I got my first headphone, the Shure SRH440, shortly after, and have since picked up a FiiO X1, FiiO E1 (used with my iPod Touch 4), an Optimus CD-3450, and, obviously, the Shure SE215. I mainly stick to the cheaper side of things, being a student and not having a job. I listen mainly out of my X1, though I used to mainly listen straight from the iPod Touch. A large majority of my listening on the SE215 was done on the X1; almost none has been none on any other sources, so for this review, all impressions of the SE215 will be from having it paired with the X1. The SE215 has had no modifications (original cable), and is using the small Shure Olive tips. I listen mainly to rock (almost all forms of it), metal, and rap, though I do sometimes listen to a little pop and electronic. Some artists I have on my X1 and may use for my review include Slipknot, Led Zeppelin, Porcupine Tree, blink-182, Jason Mraz, AWOLNATION, and Train. I will list some songs throughout, but I have no particular group of test tracks; all files are CD rips in WMA Lossless, ALAC, AIFF, or WAV. I listen to the SE215 for at least an hour or two a day; I would say there has been at least 20 hours put on them, possibly more. Unfortunately, I cannot provide pictures for this review; I have no camera of my own, so any pictures will not be mine. Also, this is my first review.
    Packaging was simple; just a small box holding the headphones, which were on display through clear plastic. Nothing special, but everything was well-packaged, nothing just floating around and everything securely in place. For accessories, you get a pack full of tips, a cleaner, and a small carrying pouch. I found the tip assortment appropriate for the price. The SE215 has the medium Olives on it, with small and large Olives, as well as small, medium, and large flex tips in the bag. For $100, this is pretty good; two sets of tips, of all sizes, and a strong, but soft case is included. Again, nothing special but appropriate for the price, like the packaging. There's not much to say here because there's nothing special about the packaging and accessories; it's simply appropriate for its price. Design is where things start to get special.
    The SE215 is made out of very solid plastic. I'll admit, I actually slept on them and had them shoved in the side of a recliner, with me shifting around on top of them for a whole night. There was absolutely no damage to anything. It's shape fits well, even in my small/mediumish ears; it's actually pretty comfortable. I've heard others say that the memory cable is a bit short, but I think it's fine; I find nothing wrong with it, and I believe it works very well. The cord is my only complaint, and it's a very small one: it's just a bit too long. I don't find it being a large problem, as I'm used to longer cords, having a long coiled cable on my SRH440, but a shorter cable would be nice. One of the great things about this IEM is it's removable cables. I believe it was the first in it's price range to have them, and if one found the cable much too long, another cable could be purchased. Some say the design where the cables connect to the IEMs was bad due to connection issues, but I've never had any. I have twisted them all the way around, while listening, to see if any problems would arise. None did; I believe Shure has made some small changes over the years, this being one, as well as one to the headphone jack. It's no longer very bulky where the gold-plated jack goes into the plastic, it has a thin section, allowing the jack to fit better though some device cases. This helps a lot for my X1, allowing me to leave the case on. I also enjoy my SE215's clear design. It's pretty cool to look inside and see the wires and components that it contains. Some have claimed that the plastic wasn't incredibly clear, possibly somewhat foggy, but mine are very clear, and look good. Overall, the design is very good.
    I'm making isolation it's own category, separate from design, because it deserves it's own category. Simply put, with the Shure Olives, insert the IEMs, turn on your music, and you hear nothing. I ride possibly the loudest bus I've ever had the displeasure to be on every day, and the SE215 will totally separates me from it. Without music, you'll obviously hear a little sound; I doubt any headphone would block out absolutely everything with no music playing. But turn on the music (between 20-35 on my FiiO X1) and you're encapsulated in your own world, full of music of your choosing. Put in the IEMs, and suddenly your friend, a couple feet away, becomes Freddie Mercury, putting on a personal concert for you, but for some reason mouthing the words wrong. I doubt you could get any closer to total isolation, and for only $100, isolation is incredible; in fact, I think the isolation would be incredible for any price.
    This from Shure's SE215 page:
    Sensitivity107 dB SPL/mW
    lmpedance20 Ω
    Frequency Range22Hz – 17.5kHz
    Cable Style64” Detachable (at ear) with wireform fit
    ColorsAvailable in Clear or Translucent Black
    Speaker TypeDynamic MicroDriver

    These are very easy to drive. I'm sure just about anything could drive them, including a Sansa Clip (not tested by me though). 
    Obviously the most important part. I'll put a couple songs that show my feelings for each section after I review them. Let's work backwards:
    Yes, the highs are somewhat recessed compared to the bass and midrange. No, it's not the most resolving treble you'll ever hear. But it's not bad. For the price, I'm sure you could find something with better treble, but the treble is and never will be a main feature of this IEM. Some cymbals can sound recessed and missing some detail. When there's a lot going on, like in AC/DC's "High Voltage," cymbals are certainly in the background. For this reason, I normally bump up the treble a little on my FiiO X1, though I have not when writing this review. Overall, highs aren't bad; just okay.
    1. The Black Keys - Little Black Submarines
    2. Porcupine Tree - Blackest Eyes
    3. AC/DC - High Voltage
    If you're interested in the SE215, I'm sure you've heard of the famous Shure mids. The mids on these are wonderful. Guitars sound great. Good texture, and pretty forwards. You MUST listen to Porcupine Tree's "Trains" with the SE215. The acoustic guitar seams to be speaking to you. It's addicting. Great detail, incredibly clear. With something like "High Voltage" by AC/DC, guitars are in your face, and the riff being right there in front of you while the rest of the instruments play is very fun and enjoyable. They'll full and powerful, much like the bass, and are addicting to listen to with a good guitar riff. 
    1. The Black Keys - Little Black Submarines
    2. Porcupine Tree - Trains
    3. Led Zeppelin - Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman)
    4. AC/DC - High Voltage
    Please listen to Slipknot's "Snuff." It's a song everyone should hear at least once. It's one of my favorite songs and I believe it's a masterpiece. Corey Taylor's vocals are incredible. Now, imagine the vocals being right there in front of you. Imagine the emotion of his voice being displayed privately, only for you, strong and speaking to you. That's what the Shure SE215 does. Vocals have good body, a fullness that surrounds you. Vocals on the SE215 are a joy to listen to because of this. They're very clear, and I would call them detailed. Nothing sums up vocals more than the words absolutely excellent.
    1. Slipknot - Snuff
    2. Jason Mraz - I'm Yours
    3. RHCP - Snow (Hey Oh)
    This is a fun IEM. It's not meant to be totally neutral. Hence, when you put on "Dani California" by The Red Hot Chili Peppers, you're given a strong drum line; that's right, with these headphones, you can actually hear the drums! (Okay, maybe it's just because I'm a drummer, but headphones that are precisely neutral don't bring the drums up enough for me. These do.) The thump of Chad's drums is there with the rest of the music; it's not overpowering in any way. Let me repeat that; bass IS NOT overpowering. I stress this because I was afraid that it would be, and that everything would be smothered by bass, like they were in an older Monster Beats Solo I tried. The SE215's bass isn't like that. It's very much there and it has power, but it isn't shoved to the back. It's certainly not left behind. I find bass to be present enough, while still being tame enough to let everything else be heard clearly and allowing other pieces to still stand out. It's not the most detailed, but it does have pretty good control. It's not muddy or all over the place. Overall, bass is very good on the SE215.
    1. Paul McCartney - Alligator
    2. RHCP - Dani California
    3. The Black Keys - Gold On The Ceiling
    4. Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
    This being a single dynamic driver IEM, separation isn't going to be the best. Things can get congested on the SE215, but it isn't terrible. I find Porcupine Tree's "Blackest Eyes" to do very well on the SE215 during the heavier parts, but the instruments don't sound like they're in totally different rooms; just in their own space, while only occasionally spilling over into another's.
    1. The Black Keys - Money Maker
    2. Porcupine Tree - Blackest Eyes
    Overall, I think the Shure SE215 is a great IEM for the price, if it fits your needs. If you want an exciting sound, something that can use bass to pump some fun into you or use vocals to speak to you, and doesn't cost much, this is it. Could you find something with better sound quality for the price? I'm absolutely sure you could. But could you find something with tank-like build quality, near-total isolation, an overall great design, and a fun sound signature for the price? I think that would be a challenge. The Shure SE215 meets my needs perfectly; I needed isolation, I needed good build quality, and I needed a more fun sound, and this IEM delivered that. If you want something perfectly neutral, with tons of detail, this isn't your IEM. If you want a good, fun, isolating IEM for not much money, I highly recommend the Shure SE215.
      ScOgLiO likes this.
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    2. TRapz
      Thanks Tom. I'd love to see a video review on them from you; I've watched many of your reviews, mainly the Havi and VSD3S when I was looking into those. You did a great job on their reviews.
      I agree about the Shure Olives. The isolation is wonderful, exactly what I needed. As evidenced by the my review, the isolation is one of my favorite parts of the SE215
      TRapz, Jan 14, 2015
    3. Lady blabla
      Well written review!!!
      I have also the Fiio x1 and i order this in earphone. (comes today) I hope it will work becouse my ears are so small!
      I have the phillips uptown headphones, but i also have in earphones so i think this ones are a good choice. I only have my old nokia 800 phone in earphones (Sound great btw) But this is i think another level haha.  I had never heard of the band porcupine tree, thanks for that!!
      Lady blabla, Mar 20, 2015
    4. Coldfate
      Great review! I agree to what you have said. Despite having that "fun" sound, i switch to MeE A151P from shure due to having a more neutral sound
      Coldfate, Jul 22, 2015
  10. damianmb
    They just break..
    Written by damianmb
    Published Nov 28, 2014
    Pros - Sound
    Cons - Quality Control... or defect in the design?
    I barely used them... got one pair and a few months later the left earpiece started cutting sound. The retail shop opened them and did a messy job, were working and then stopped. Got a 2nd pair, same issue.
    Please don't buy them. I got a SE535 and they don't seem to have any problem, time will tell.
    I'm writing half star because so many people have this issue too... cannot write anything about the sound if they keep breaking.
    1. PrincessZero
      I'm sorry to hear that, but I own both the CL and LTD 215's and have beat my 215-CL half to death and they still work and sound great. Even with my now owning the 846 I plan on using my 215's for sleeping and traveling. 
      PrincessZero, Nov 29, 2014